Onitsha container drivers Storm ENTRACO Office over alleged assault of members
By: Esther Asoanya
Over 200 members of the Container Drivers Association, Onitsha branch, with their trucks numbering over 200 recently stormed the Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission, ENTRACO, over alleged beating of two of their members, damaging and impounding of two trucks, four batteries, ransacking their trucks and forcefully removing money.
Addressing newsmen in Onitsha, the Chairman of the Onitsha container drivers Association, Mr. Chukwuka Okeakpu Omaliko, said, our problem is with the General Manager of ENTRACO, Hon Alex Emeziem, who orders his boys to chase after any container driver from Onitsha that is going to Port Harcourt extorting money from them. If you fail to give them #5.000 they will damage your truck, ransack it, remove your batteries, break the glasses and windscreens, steal whatever money that is with you and beat you up. “They do this on a daily basis and sometimes when we complain to his office he will apologize and promise it won’t happen again.
“Recently, because two of our drivers refused to give them #5,000 to pass through the Federal road, Owerri to Port Harcourt, they were beaten to coma, their two trucks smashed, their four batteries and cash removed and the trucks ransacked and impounded; ” the chairman alleged.
“The two drivers were hospitalized and their trucks packed at ENTRACO office along Ogbaku road Owerri. So when we got information about the incident we moved straight to Owerri with over 200 trucks demanding for the immediate release of the entire seizures”
In his own reaction, the National President of Heavy Duty Drivers Association, Hon Uche Rogers Nebuwa called on Governor Emeka Ihedioha to sack the ENTRACO General Manager before he drags his image to the mud as he did to his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha. He called on the Governor to stop the ENTRACO GM now noting that the road the container drivers are using are Federal roads and there is no way the local or state government law can supersede Federal law in this respect.
Also reacting, a chieftain of the container drivers in Onitsha, Chief Victor Maduabusi Okoye, lamented the illegal activities of the ENTRACO GM saying, “they have injured one of my drivers, destroyed two of my trucks”. “If not for me one of the ENTRACO boys would have been lynched by angry mob over this illegal activities and the GM was begging that it would not happen again”. “It is only us that they want to collect money from, leaving tankers and Dangote trailers and trucks.”
Also another Chieftain, Chief John Emenike said, ” I have three to four trucks and in a week one or two must have broken glasses and windscreens caused by the ENTRACO boys who collect illegal money from us”. “The problem is that our leaders in Port Harcourt instead of helping to stop this illegality, will find a way of conniving with ENTRACO to extort us” he noted.
However, in a swift reaction, the ENTRACO GM, when contacted; denied the allegation saying that, “the state government made a law that articulated vehicles will only pass through Owerri metropolis between 6pm to 6am. They should not pass during the day but these people refused.”
“We have the power to enforce the law by impounding their trucks and I have asked them to come so that we discuss on that they refused” “We don’t want what happened in Onitsha to happen here in Owerri so we are taking proactive measure” he stated